Facilities and Data Centre Management
Facilities Management refers to the management of the physical environment of IT Operations, usually located in Data Centres or computer rooms. This is a vast and complex area and this publication will provide an overview of its key role and activities. In many respects, Facilities Management could be viewed as a function in its own right. However, because this publication is focused on where IT Operations are housed, it will cover Facilities Management specifically as it relates to the management specifically as it relates to the management of Data Centres and as a subset of the IT Operations Managment function. The main components of Facilities Management are as follows:
- Building Management, which refers to the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings that house the IT staff and Data Centre. Typical activities include cleaning, waste disposal, parking management and access control.
- Equipment Hosting, which ensures that all specials requirements are provided for the physical housing of equipment and the teams that support them.
- Power Management, which refers to managing the sourcing and utilization of power sources that are used to keep the facility functional. This definition of Power Management has a number of implications.
- Environmental Conditioning and Alert Systems, Which include the specification, maintenance, and monitoring of systems such as smoke detection and fire suppression, water, heating and cooling systems, etc.
- Safety is concerned with compliance with all legislation standards and policies relative to the safety of employees.
- Physical Access Control refers to ensuring that the facility is only accessed by authorized personnel and that any unauthorized access is detected and managed.
- Shipping and Receiving, refers to the management of all equipment, furniture, mail, etc. that leaves or enters the building. It ensures that only appropriate items are entering or leaving the building and that they are routed to the correct party.
- Involvement in Contract Management of the various suppliers and service providers involved in the facility.
- Maintenance refers to regular, scheduled upkeep of the facility, as well as the detection and resolution of problems with the facility.
Data Centre Strategies
Managing a Data Centre is far more than hosting an open space where technical groups install and manage equipment, using their own approaches and procedures. It requires an integrated set of processes and procedures involving all IT groups at every stage of the ITSM lifecycle. Data Centre operations are governed by strategic and design decisions for management and control and are executed by operators. This requires a number of key factors to be put in place.
- Data Centre Automation, Specialized automation systems that reduce the need for manual operators and which monitor and track the status of the facility and all IT operations at all times
- Policy-based management, where the rules of automation and resource allocation are managed by policy, rather than having to go through complex change procedures every time processing is moved from one resource to another
- Real-time service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Standardization of equipment, This provides greater ease of management, more consistent levels of performance and a means of providing multiple services across similar technology. Standardization also reduces the variety of technical expertise required to manage equipment in the Data Centre and to provide services.
- SOAs, where service components can be reused interchanged and replaced very quickly and with no impact on the business. This will make it possible for the Data Centre to be highly responsive in meeting changing business demands without having to go through lengthy and involved re-engineering and re-architecting
- Virtualization, This means that IT service is delivered using an ever-changing set of equipment, geared to meet current demand. For example, an application may run on a dedicated device together with its database during non-peak times – all automated and automatic. This will mean even greater savings of costs as any equipment can be used at any time without any human intervention, except to perform maintenance and replace failed equipment. The IT Infrastructure is more resilient since any components are backed up by any number of components any of which could take over a failed components workload automatically. Remote monitoring, control, and management equipment and systems will be essential to manage a virtualized environment, as many services will not be linked to any one specific piece of equipment.
- Unified management systems, have become more important as services run across multiple locations and technologies. Today it is important to define what actions need to be taken and what systems will perform that action. This means investing in solutions that will allow infrastructure managers to simply specify what outcome is required, and following the management system to calculate the best combination of tools and actions to achieve the outcome.